Describe what it means to speak of Corporate Social Responsibility; and discuss the operational implications for professional purchasers of an organization having a CSR policy.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an organisation’s commitment to best practice with regard to employees, customers, suppliers and the environment. Some aspects of a company’s CSR are compulsory as laid down by legislative and regulatory requirements. Others are acquired through joining a professional body that sets professional codes of practice or they can be completely voluntary, if for example, a corporation should wish to enhance the public perception of what may previously have been a compliance based approach.
In recent years various human and environmental exploitations have been exposed – in 2008 Panorama exposed the use of child labour in Indian factories supplying Primark and this year Greenpeace released a report on how toxic dyes used in Chinese factories to manufacture clothing for brands such as Nike and Puma are not only dangerous for employees causing rashes and respiratory infections, but heavily pollute the rivers they are expelled into on a daily basis. For reasons such as these we hope that organizations will increasingly adopt a proactive, positive and integrity based approach.
Any organization having a CSR policy will mean wide ranging operational implications for its professional purchasers. Whilst it is one of the main functions of a professional purchaser, whether in the public or private sector, to keep costs as low as possible and to obtain the best value for money, this must not be at the cost of ethical considerations. These ethical considerations begin in the immediate office and can branch out globally.
One aspect is that of equal opportunities and the outlawing of discrimination when recruiting or promoting staff within the purchasing department. Factors such as race, disability or sexual orientation should not be factors in...